We had no idea. :)
Underneath the carpet in the living room was more 12" X 12" tiles and underneath those tiles was a layer of hardened glue that was 1/8" thick and underneath that was a thick layer of black tar paper. Underneath the tile in Leo's room, our room and the kitchen was more of the same. Underneath the carpet in Stella's room was a layer of particle board that featured nine nails per square foot of board, which means each square foot was removed one nail at a time.
After trying just about every tool imaginable to get up the glue and tar paper, and enough Google searches and forum reading to last several days, we finally found the best tool for scraping up the tar paper was a good old fashioned paint scraper. So we got on our knees and scraped, inch by inch, hour after hour, until finally we had all six rooms completed (with lots of help from family, friends and some day laborers) and ready for the finish to go on. Our hard work paid off in the form of original 1870 poplar floors, which are vibrant in color and full of character.
|Looking towards the dining room. Taken on our first day in the house.|
|The tar paper in the living room.|
|This was after we used boiling water and a chisel, which didn't do much of anything. We also tried a heat gun and a wallpaper steamer.|
|After five hours of scraping, I was able to sand this little section. Those beautiful green and vanilla colors are what kept us going.|
|After another full day in the living room.|
|View of our bedroom, with living room and dining room behind it. The bedroom had as much of the black tar as the living room. This was the last shot taken before the finish went on the entire downstairs.|